Camerata Ensemble

Camerata Ensemble

The First Step

The Camerata Ensemble, led by conductor Marisa McLeod, is comprised of musicians who are early in their musical training.  It introduces students to the basics of ensemble playing, following a conductor, and listening across a musical group while playing. Students in the Camerata Ensemble must have at least one year of experience on a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument (either in a group setting or private lessons).

Santa Barbara Symphony Junior Ensembles 3/9/19 El Montecito 1st Presbyterian Church
Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Community Concert  4/29/17 PageYouth Center

Program Highlights

  • Nine months of weekly rehearsals led by conductor Marisa McLeod and instrument-specific sectionals led by local professional musicians.
  • Three public performances at venues throughout Santa Barbara.
  • Opportunities to perform for Symphony audiences before Symphony concerts.
  • Students receive two free tickets to every regular season Santa Barbara Symphony concert, and access to reduced priced tickets for additional family members.
  • Invitations to talks, meet & greets, and masterclasses with the extraordinary professional musicians of The Symphony and visiting guest artists.
  • Invitations to participate in enrichment opportunities with community partners such as Santa Barbara Unified School District music programs, Santa Barbara Strings, Music Academy of the West, UCSB and Westmont College.
  • Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles T-Shirt

Participant Guidelines

  • Attend weekly Sunday rehearsals from 1-2:30pm. Students rehearse during the school year from September through May and must be on time for all rehearsals and performances.
  • Students are expected to further their musical education outside of rehearsals by:
    • Practicing their instruments and assigned material on a daily basis
    • Participating in their school music program
    • Attending at least 5 Santa Barbara Symphony concerts
    • Taking private lessons is highly recommended
  • Families are expected to:
    • Help students keep a regular practice schedule
    • Volunteer for and participate in social events and fundraising activities.
  • SAFETY NOTE: Student safety is our priority and we continue to closely monitor guidelines from the Public Health Department. Fall 2022 instruction will be conducted in-person and in accordance with current Santa Barbara County Public Health Department masking requirements as outlined HERE. The Santa Barbara Symphony strongly recommends vaccination for all students participating in the 2022-2023 Youth Ensembles season.
Santa Barbara Junior Orchestra 10/29/17 Vieja Valley School

2022-2023 Audition Information

We are currently considering mid-year applications on a case-by-case basis. New students who are interested in joining our Camerata Ensemble for the remainder of the season should complete the online application below and contact us at to confirm the possibility of auditioning. We especially encourage students playing oboe, bassoon, trumpet, french horn, and low strings (viola, cello, double bass) to apply and join the orchestra!

Please check this page in April for information about auditions for our 2023-2024 season.

2022-2023 Audition Requirements

  • Level: beginner. For students with at least one year of experience on a woodwind, brass, percussion, or string instrument.
    • Recommended Suzuki level for strings: book 1-2
  • Scales and Arpeggios:
    • String players prepare a one-octave major scale and arpeggio of your choice: A, D, C, or G or a two-octave major scale and arpeggio: C or G.
    • Woodwind and brass players prepare a one-octave major scale and arpeggio of your choice: B-flat, E-flat, or F.
    • Percussion players: if playing mallet percussion, prepare a one-octave major scale and arpeggio of your choice on glockenspiel.
  • A solo piece or excerpt, which best demonstrates both technical and musical skills on the instrument (no accompanist needed)
    • Percussion players: please prepare a solo piece or excerpt on either snare drum or glockenspiel.
Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Community Concert  4/29/17 PageYouth Center

2022-2023 Tuition

All-inclusive tuition for the nine-month program $500

As a non-profit, generous annual donations from Symphony supporters enable us to keep tuition fees to a minimum. Payment plans and need-based scholarships are available. Admitted musicians will not be turned away due to finances. If tuition is a challenge, please reach out to the Education Programs Manager at 805-898-1417.

Support this program!

Would you like to join our family of donors and support this program? Annual donations at any level have a big impact. They can fund scholarships, help pay our faculty, provide instruments and more! 

Santa Barbara Junior Orchestra 10/29/17 Vieja Valley School
Support The Santa Barbara Symphony

Your support matters now more than ever!
Please make a donation today.